Medically Reviewed April 2023, by Claire Clarke - Head of Surgical Services for The Harley Medical Group
Choosing to have a cosmetic surgery procedure is one of the biggest decisions that you’ll ever make in your life, especially if you are looking to improve your confidence and self-esteem.
Whether you are looking to have breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tuck or face surgery, it will take time to recover after your procedure and you are likely to be left with swelling and bruises, as well as a scar that vary depending on the procedure you are having. However, there are some steps that you can take to aid your post-surgery recovery and the healing process.
As part of our commitment to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our clients, at The Harley Medical Group we want to ensure you are completely informed about the recovery process following your cosmetic procedure. With that in mind, we have put together 5 general tips to improve your recovery after any cosmetic surgery which we recommend following along with your surgeon’s instructions.
It’s really important to keep well hydrated after surgery by drinking 2 – 3 litres of water per day depending on your weight, as this can help your body to heal faster. In addition, it can also help to remove waste material from your body, such as anaesthesia and pain medication which may lead to constipation, and water also helps blood to transport nutrients to the wound site.
Following cosmetic surgery it’s important to rest, relax and take it easy in order to allow your body to fully recover. This means having a gentle walk every hour or two, rather than going for a strenuous gym session that involves lots of weight lifting for at least six weeks post-surgery. Vigorous movement and exercise can result in your stitches opening, which could impact the healing process and set back your recovery, as well as increase bruising, bleeding and inflammation through elevating your blood pressure.
Once your surgery is complete, you will be advised to do as little as possible – depending on the surgery you had even things like washing your hair should be avoided initially. By keeping your body and wound site clean, this will help to prevent infection, which is one of the most important things following your cosmetic procedure. It is always preferable to have shower instead of bath and also avoid swim for at least 6 weeks after you surgery.
You should ensure that you wash your hands often, especially if you need to clean your incision or change surgical dressings. You can inspect your incision from time to time in order to check for signs of infection or allergies. For example does it look pink or red? Is there wound drainage and are the stitches or staples intact?
Although eating after having surgery is the last thing on many people’s mind, eating a healthy post-surgery diet can not only help to promote healing, but it can also help your body to fight off infection, speed up your recovery and boost your energy and strength.
It’s recommend to eat healthy fats which are high in vitamin E and can help to reduce the appearance of scars, such as nuts (particularly almonds), olive oil, avocados and oily fish. In addition, berries that are high in antioxidants are also a good choice as they rebuild collagen and help the body repair damage, so you should also eat cranberries, blueberries and blackberries where possible. Small regular portions of food may be more tolerable then less frequent large meals.
Following surgery, it’s important to keep your scars out of direct sunlight and artificial UV for around one year. This is because scar tissue is more prone to burning as it is thinner, and you may also have less sensation in the skin following surgery so you may not feel your skin burning either. In addition, you should also wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 25 or more.
It’s important to keep in mind that each body has an individual healing time and to achieve the best results and minimal scars you should give special attention on your recovery process. Be patient and give your body the time it’s needed so you can fully enjoy the results and increase your self-esteem.